Jessi Hempel is joining Jessie Scanlon (who had an amazing panel with GE Healthcare's new Global Design chief Lew Lenzi -- ex Thompson--and Sam Farber of OXO and Copco fame at yesterday's @issue conference) and Reena Jana, our gaming and fashion specialist (plus everything else) and me in the innovation and design space. She's into social networking, did the MySpace cover and like Jessie S and Reena, totally brilliant (but in a different way).

Here's what Jessi H has to say about identity.

"I’m a magazine junkie, and not just business and design mags. Give me a good People, a New Yorker, a Marie Claire. I read to find out how to lose ten pounds in ten days, of course, and to see how new moms Angelina and Katie are getting along, but even more, I read to watch media evolve. And I spend as much time engrossed in the advertisements as the editorial, which is why I’ve noticed that recently in all my favorite magazines, print advertisers are taking a page from their online counterparts: they’re asking me to get involved.

Take Fiskars, for example, the company that probably made the scissors lodged in the back of the “everything” drawer in your kitchen. I’d never thought much about my scissors before, or about Fiskars, but then I was reading ReadyMade, the Berkeley-based Do-it-Yourself title that sports creative design delivered on a baby budget, and I saw a MySpace-like profile of a young woman similar in age and appearance to me, Elisabeth Elde of Minneapolis, Minn. Her smile was captured in a black-and-white snapshot taped to the inside of a scrap book. On the opposite page, the words “My hands get jealous of all the work my brain does” were scripted in block letters between the fingers of a flower-patterned cloth hand. Below, Fiskars scissors appeared next to the slogan: What do you have to say about your craft? What does your craft have to say about you? Share your stories at
Go to the Web site, and the project gets cooler. Tons of folks have passed along pages describing why they craft. And lest you think Fiskars has the market on building community, in ReadyMade alone, Keen Footwear also invites you to submit stories about “people balancing their passions, their work, and their desire to make a difference,” highlighting small business owner Sharon L. as she works with inner city kids. In MORE, the other magazine in my purse this afternoon, the American Heart Association invites you to take the Great American Weight Loss Challenge, spotlighting Robin Seaber with convincing “before” and “after” pictures.

This made me think about Bruce’s point that enabling people to create their own identities may be the Next Big Thing in innovation and design. Smart companies are inviting us to create our identities around their products. They’re working Fiskars scissors and Keen Footwear and AHA’s mission to promote heart health seamlessly into process of doing and being ourselves."

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